By Nicole Meyer
Throughout most school days, I don’t often think about what it means to be a student at Byram Hills High School. As I sit through my classes and repeat the mundane actions of my day, I glance at those who sit around me. A great diversity of peers and community members surround me, all unique individuals, but each united by the common identity of being a Byram Hills student. While we do not always take the time to recognize the importance of being Byram Hills community members, participating in school athletics and events like homecoming highlight our solidarity and bring the community together.
As a student athlete at Byram Hills High School, I experience a strong sense of identity in playing for the Byram Hills Girls Varsity Soccer team. Each day I leave school for a soccer game, my identity as a BHHS student athlete becomes a crucial element in how I act on and off the field. Whether a game results in a win or a loss, numerous athletes, including myself, strive to represent our school in a positive light. Emma Fruhling, senior co-captain of the Byram Hills girls soccer team, stated, “Of course, my teammates and I strive to represent Byram in a positive light on the soccer field. Byram Hills has set a reputation for themselves when it comes to sportsmanship and athleticism, and I hope I have worked to keep up that reputation.” Because many Byram Hills students don’t interact with students from other districts frequently outside of athletics, the few opportunities we have to represent our school district can drastically influence other school’s perspectives of us, which is something BHHS athletes take seriously.
During Homecoming, Byram Hills High School has a spirit week, in which students are encouraged to dress up in various clothing for each day of the week in order to spread school spirit. During spirit week, in particular, Byram is more united than ever and becomes a close-knit community because students become increasingly aware of their Byram Hills identity. Even something as simple as dressing in pajamas can help unify students that wouldn’t otherwise interact. The unifying thrill of dressing alike is something athletes get to experience each day they have a game. This is something I love about being on a sports team. When we all wear the same attire, it makes each of us feel like we are a part of something larger than ourselves. We make the most of these few opportunities we have to show how much we enjoy playing soccer for Byram. It is amazing that every student has the opportunity to feel connected during homecoming, in the same way athletes feel connected to their teams.
It’s not hard to feel lost in school, from long classes with loads of homework to staying up late studying while your friends are hanging out. Being involved in athletics and homecoming festivities during the fall, however, makes it easier for students to root themselves in something familiar. Through seasons in which I don’t participate in school sports, I wish I did. I’ve made so many friends through sports that I would never have met if it weren’t for the many hours I spend on the track or soccer field throughout the year. The bobcat spirit running through the veins of Byram Hills students during the fall is so exhilarating, even to just experience from the outside. The simplicity of running into the center of the gym during the pep rally to chant with my favorite people is such a rush. As a student athlete, I can attest that the best part of high school is the spirited community of support.